Tuesday, November 27, 2012

CSCL participates in UASC's new GEM service linking Mideast to India


CHINA Shipping Container Lines (CSCL) is teaming up with United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) on its new GEM service connecting Turkey, Port Said, Red Sea, Middle East Gulf, Pakistan and India.

The first GEM sailing is scheduled for November 22. The service will call at: Port Said, Mersin, Istanbul, Izmir, Port Said, Yanbu, Jeddah, Khor Fakkan, Sohar, Port Sultan Qaboos, Karachi, Hazira, Mundra, Khor Fakkan, Jebel Ali, Bahrain, Jubail, Khor Fakkan, Jeddah, Yanbu and back to Port Said.

For the first time, the port rotation includes the Indian port of Hazira in Gujarat state, which is located about 120 nautical miles north of Nhava Sheva and Mumbai. The first call at Hazira is slated for December 20. The ships will be handled at the new Adani Hazira Container Terminal (AHCT).

A report by Alphaliner said the GEM service will also include sections of UASC's UAE-Pakistan-India service (IMC1/IMC2) as well as the carrier's Middle East feeder service (AEC1), from where the UASC ships switch deployment to join the GEM service.

In addition to direct port calls, the GEM service will provide connections to other East Mediterranean and North African ports through relay services via Port Said and will serve a number of Black Sea ports through relay services from Istanbul.

The CSCL will provide one of the eight 3,800- to 4,250-TEU ships used to operate the service, namely the 4,250-TEU Xin Yang Shan. The other seven vessels will be provided by UASC.

Friday, November 16, 2012

MAERSK LINE in the black after four quarterly losses


Rebounding container rates helped Maersk Line post a third quarter operating profit of $547 million compared with a loss of $255 million and made parent A P Moller-Maersk raise the group's full-year outlook.

Group chief executive Nils Smedegaard Andersen cautioned rates could reverse for Maersk Line, which returned to profit after four successive periods of losses, reported Reuters.

"I think one should be careful expecting that this is now very stable," Andersen told reporters. "It does not mean there is no chance of a relapse for prices on some routes."

The container unit, a barometer of world trade as its fleet carries more than 15 percent of all seaborne containers, has struggled with profitability due to the global economic slowdown and an oversupply of vessels. Maersk Line successfully managed to implement rate hikes in the third quarter along with rivals, but spot rates on the crucial Asia to Europe route were easing again this week, worrying some analysts.

"The profits are not sustainable for Maersk Line," said Alm Brand analyst Jesper Christensen. "I believe the unit will hold up in the fourth quarter but that rates will fall to unprofitable levels at the beginning of next year," Christensen said.

The Maersk group said it still expected a modest positive result in 2012 for Maersk Line, based on higher average rates in the second half, but downgraded growth estimates for seaborne container demand to three percent from four percent.

It did not offer outlook for next year, but raised its 2012 group net profit forecast to US$3.7 billion from "slightly above" last year's $3.4 billion result. Group net profit jumped to $933 million in the third quarter from $371 million in the same period last year, lagging an average forecast of $1.20 billion by analysts in a Reuters poll.

Maersk Oil reported a 33 percent fall in operating profit to $1.16 billion, lagging forecasts.

Shipowners are struggling with an oversupply of vessels that could intensify next year. Raising rates and cutting costs are amongst ways the companies can cushion falling volumes as trade slows worldwide.

The group said last month it would step up investment in its oil, ports and drilling businesses to cut its exposure to the volatile container shipping industry.

The shipping downturn has forced banks to pull back from shipping finance amid a four year-long downturn that is likely to extend well into 2013. Maersk could decide to increase its planned bond issue program, Smedegaard said.

"Our bond programme is still of a limited size and what will decide how large it will be is how the banks' behaviour will change in the future," he said. "If the banks view credit for large companies increasingly in terms of bonds, we will definitely increase our bond programme," Smedegaard said. The group's four core businesses are Maersk Oil, APM Terminals, Maersk Drilling and Maersk Line.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

CSAV back in black with US$37 million third quarter operating profit


CHILE's flag carrier CSAV restored its profitability by posting an operating profit of US$37.3 million in the third quarter after suffering from losses in previous eight quarters, reversing a huge operating loss of $354.9 million a year earlier.

But CSAV is still sailing in the red after counting the results of first nine months, though losses have been reduced 74.2 per cent year on year. As the carrier took a bold move to rationalise its services and capacity last year, revenue has dropped 30.5 per cent.

"We are satisfied with the work done. We have been able to carry out a deep change in our business model and today our efforts are being reflected in our results following a long period of losses," said CSAV chief executive Oscar Hasbun.

He said this quarterly result reflected the successful effect on the carrier's restructuring with "a sustainable long-term business model".

After suffering from huge losses, CSAV has enlarged the joint operations to the present level of 95 per cent of its network capacity from 30 per cent in the past. It has also increased in its own fleet, from eight per cent at the end of 2010 to 37 per cent in the second half of the year.

"The market and freight rates are still unstable, as well as the oil price, so the company is continuing to work to improve its operating efficiency through several initiatives as part of the work being done with the consultants McKinsey," he said.